Frequently Asked Questions

General FAQ

What is The Right Horse Initiative?

The Right Horse Initiative is a unifying organization, bringing together the expertise of the horse industry, equine welfare professionals and advocates in a collective effort to promote adoption as a preferred method to finding your next horse. We are focusing our collective knowledge towards a professional, logical approach that will support at-risk equines and increase the number of successful horse adoptions in our country. Our partnerships support horses in transition through education, training, and public awareness on a national level. By working together, we are improving the lives of thousands of horses and massively increasing horse adoption in the United States.

Who is Watershed Animal Fund and what is their involvement with The Right Horse?

The WaterShed Animal Fund is a division within the Arnall Family Foundation dedicated to improving the lives of companion animals. Equine welfare is one of the major initiatives of the WaterShed Animal Fund.

The Fund is resourcing this initiative through strategic planning, pilot programs such as interstate transport, capacity building, national adoption marketing campaigns, and training programs. The Fund is committed to supporting The Right Horse Initiative in a very substantial way over the next decade, in addition to continuing to develop both public and private partnerships to work in collaboration to achieve our goal.

What isn’t working with equine adoption? Why does the conversation need to be reframed?

The Right Horse and its partners have an opportunity to reframe public perception of equine adoption by working together toward a shared, common goal. Historically, equine welfare advocates and the equine industry have not been great at working collaboratively to promote good outcomes for horses. Divisiveness over specific issues has splintered the conversation, but we don’t want our disagreements to hinder us from making progress with equine welfare. The Right Horse and its partners intend to change the pace of progress through collaboration, ideation and innovation.

How can I, as an individual, support The Right Horse?

There are many ways to support The Right Horse and our mission. Visit our How to Help page for ideas on how you can help support horses in transition.

I want to adopt a horse. Can you help with me with that?

We’re so happy to hear you are considering adoption! The Right Horse Initiative does not facilitate adoptions or placements, however many of our partners do. By adopting through these organizations, you can feel good that you are supporting groups that uphold and embody the Right Horse philosophy. Meet them here.

Who are The Right Horse Partners?

All Right Horse partners share a goal to improve the number of positive outcomes for horses in transition. They are dedicated to supporting programs and practices that promote collaboration between stakeholders in both the equine and welfare industries by taking negativity and divisiveness off the table. Our partners have not only shown an outstanding level of commitment to this ethos that goes beyond just applying for a grant, but also they demonstrate a clear interest in reframing the conversation and proactively participating in innovating solutions, options and best practices that support horses in transition and horse owners.

How do partners support The Right Horse?

The Right Horse partners are part of a unified effort to promote adoption as a preferred method of finding your next horse. As a partner to The Right Horse Initiative, they are championing education, proper training and public awareness on a national level to improve the lives of thousands of horses and massively increase equine adoption in the United States.

Our partners’ initial efforts are focused on raising awareness about The Right Horse mission by spreading the word (newsletters, events, etc.) and participating in the #RightHorse conversation via social media. Longer-term goals as a Right Horse partner are to continue working towards greater collaboration, ideation, transparency and innovation within the equine industry. What you can expect from Right Horse partners:

  • Spreading the word about The Right Horse Initiative
  • Defining and supporting best industry practices
  • Monitoring what is happening within the industry, as well as equine adoption and welfare trends
  • Collaborating on welfare initiatives that will improve conditions and support sustainable practices that support horses in transition and provide better options to horse owners
How can my organization become a Right Horse partner?

The Right Horse Initiative has just begun our movement, which we see as a marathon – not a sprint. Partners are selected based on a shared philosophy of how the work should be done to achieve our goals. We are looking for partners that are serious about moving horses and reframing the conversation about adoption. The partners we seek take all forms. We will have adoption partners, corporate partners, education partners, training partners, veterinarian partners and funding partners. We expect our partners to see the bigger picture, as well as their individual role. We expect our partners to take risks with us in trying new things and help us innovate new ideas to truly change equine welfare for the better. Most importantly, we want partners who think big. If our message speaks to you, please get in touch with us and tell us who you are.

What does the Right Horse mean by “innovative adoptions?”

Most equine adoption centers could place more horses in adoptive homes if they had more resources to provide training to horses while in transition. In some instances, horses may require only minimal finishing training to transition into a new career.

“Innovative adoptions” are new ideas, practices and programs for transitioning and training highly-adoptable horses. At The Right Horse, we encourage industry and welfare advocates to come to us with groundbreaking, innovative ideas for doing things differently – and doing things better.

Below are a few examples of innovative adoption pilot programs The Right Horse currently supports:

  • Harmony Equine Center: The Right Horse is piloting a program at Harmony Equine Center (HEC) to provide a regional training hub. Local equine adoption groups can bring their horses in transition to HEC for training. Once training is complete, HEC will perform the adoption with potential homes, or the horse will be sent back to the original center to be adopted with newly learned skills. The goal is to assist local groups in providing better-trained and more desirable horses to adopters. In addition, the program boosts movement in adoption centers, decreasing length of stay while increasing the ability to take on additional horses in transition.
  • Horse Plus Humane Society: The Right Horse supports programs that provide open admission access to horse owners, giving them a humane alternative for end-of-life options. Owners can surrender their horse to a shelter at no charge, at which point the shelter will determine if the horse needs to be euthanized or is a candidate for training and/or adoption. The Right Horse is currently piloting a program with Horse Plus Humane Society to provide one-day open shelters throughout the country in 2017. Horses surrendered during the one-day open shelters are evaluated on-site and provided humane end-of-life services, if needed, or selected for partnership adoption programs.
  • New Vocations: A great example of a collaborative program is the pilot program being implemented by New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program and the Pony Club. New Vocations offers off-the-track thoroughbreds to Pony Club members, as well as providing them with a stipend to cover the cost of care. This program is a win/win for the Pony Club members and for the horses coming off the track as they transition into a new career.
What is The Right Horse's position on euthanasia?

At The Right Horse, our primary goal is to massively increase the number of successful horse adoptions in the United States. We recognize the great work our partners are doing on behalf of adoptable horses and support them in these efforts, including instances when doing the right thing also requires doing the hard thing.

Horse owners frequently find themselves in tough situations when addressing end-of-life options for their horse. Historically, most communities in the United States do not have access to shelter options for owners needing to surrender their horse. In many communities, humanely euthanizing and disposing of a deceased horse is prohibitively costly. As a result, if an owner isn’t successful at independently selling or re-homing their horse, some horse owners take their horse to auction as an alternative to addressing end-of-life care. While auctions can be a useful tool for transitioning some horses, many horses fall into unfortunate circumstances at auctions which often result in suffering.

In other cases, horse owners refuse to sell their horse at an auction, but do not have the financial means to pay for humane euthanasia. These horses often experience “pasture neglect” and can endure unnecessary pain and suffering.

In addition to supporting the work of industry and adoption partners throughout the United States, The Right Horse funds community resources, such as open admission shelters. These programs provide open admission access, giving owners a humane alternative for end-of-life options. Owners can surrender their horse to a shelter at no charge, at which point the shelter will determine if the horse is a candidate for training and/or adoption.

At times, horses surrendered are determined to be unadoptable due to their age, health or temperament. Horses that are not candidates for adoption may be humanely euthanized in accordance with the American Association of Equine Practitioners Guidelines on Humane Euthanasia.

Conditions that warrant euthanasia may include:

  • Incurable, progressive disease or lameness
  • Debilitation that cannot be corrected
  • Severe traumatic injury
  • Repeated dangerous behaviors
  • Unresolvable suffering for any reason
  • Horses requiring continuous analgesic medication for pain or individual box stall confinement for the rest of the animal’s life

As horse lovers and advocates, The Right Horse and our partners have devoted our efforts to supporting horses however we can. Our partner agencies work tirelessly to ensure that the horses in their care are placed in caring, responsible homes. They are leading the way when it comes to developing innovative solutions and ethical standards for adoption. The decision to euthanize is not made without thorough review and careful consideration by our partners, with veterinary input, who determines what is in the best interest of the horse. Ultimately, we all believe that by providing end-of-life alternatives and support to owners in need, the number of horses in transition facing neglect situations can be reduced. With proper evaluation and training, many surrendered horses can be transitioned safely into new homes – and it is an honor to play a part in supporting those positive outcomes.

What is The Right Horse's position on slaughter?

Slaughter is a controversial topic but at the end of the day, we have yet to meet anyone who wouldn’t choose a better alternative if offered. At the Right Horse, we believe there doesn’t need to be a market for horse slaughter with increased community resources and an increased market share for adoption horses. We choose to focus our energy on providing safety net programs for horses before they fall at-risk of an inhumane outcome. This is why we are funding open-admission shelters, one-day open shelters, and programs that build capacity for adoption organizations.

I am a member of the media. Who can I contact for an interview or for more information about The Right Horse?

Specific inquiries or questions beyond the scope of the content found in our media kit can be directed to Christy Counts.